I have been trying to make my way through the mystery & thriller winners of the Goodreads 2018 Choice Awards, and this was one on the list. This book had gotten some hype, and I admit, I was more excited to read it once I discovered that C.J. Tudor is a woman. I tend to prefer mysteries written by women, but the initials threw me off at first, and I assumed Tudor was a man.
I just wasn’t wowed by this story. I didn’t care for the narrator, who told the story from two different time periods — the first during his preadolescence in the 1980s, and the second when he was middle aged in 2014. I found him to be kind of a bore, and he had a strange compulsion that I couldn’t quite figure out — not strange in that it was particularly extraordinary, just confusing in terms of why he was driven to it in the first place. I won’t give it away, even though it’s not much of a spoiler, because it does become a somewhat important piece to the puzzler of a mystery.
I can’t talk about many of my issues with the plot without giving away major plot points. But I can say that I found the entire reveal sequence — in which several characters’ secrets are revealed — to be pretty anticlimactic. Many motives didn’t ring true, or didn’t seem serious enough to warrant the impulsive and consequential decisions they supposedly prompted. As I’m writing this, about a week after finishing the book, I’m having to rack my brain to remember who the actual killer was. Lots of people did bad things, so it was easy for the worst of bad guys to get lost in the crowd.
The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor